Tuesday, May 11, 2010

puerto rican rice and beans

Lisa's Puerto Rican Rice and Beans

Rice and beans. I think of it as a vegetarian cliche [along with hummus], which is why I hesitated to print a recipe in my cookbook. But in the end, I included my Cuban rice and black beans recipe, because it's so easy, tasty and nutritious. That's the inherent beauty and simplicity of rice and beans, and that's why it's stood the test of time. So many cultures have their own versions, and even within cultures, every cook adds a little bit of this or a pinch of that to further customize the recipe.


Assembling some of the ingredients

My best friend, Lisa, makes kick-ass Puerto Rican-style rice and beans. Her Puerto Rican ex-mother-in-law showed her the recipe, and she in turn, gave me the recipe the old-fashioned way... over the phone, peppered with girl-talk, and without any hard-and-fast rules or measurements.


Annatto seeds coloring and flavoring the oil: after 1 minute

I poured myself a glass of wine and pulled out my trusty Le Creuset casserole [everything tastes better when you cook it in your favorite vessel]. Then I put on some tunes and got to work. First, I added the annatto seeds to the oil. The seeds come from the achiote tree, which is why this flavoring is sometimes called achiote.


Annatto seeds coloring the oil: after 8 minutes.

Look at that gorgeous crimson color! The annatto seeds not only infuse the dish with a slightly earthy tang, they also tint the rice a gorgeous saffron hue. Next time, I'll infuse the oil for a good 15 minutes.


Lisa's instructions: "Stir, stir, stir."

The finished product was delicious, even though I used basmati rice, the only white rice I had in my pantry. I ended up eating this for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the last 2 days – by choice! And today, I'm sad that it's all gone. So I stand corrected. If rice and beans, is, in fact, a vegetarian cliche, I'll have another helping, please.

20 comments:

Millie said...

Nicely done...that is my specialty.

http://nuestracena-vegancuisine.blogspot.com

doggybloggy said...

disregard my e-mail - it must have been some weird glitch - as I can see it fine now...anyway rice and beans are always good!

Jennifer said...

That looks amazingly delicious!! Thank you for introducing me to those beautiful annatto seeds.

(P.S. That's my favourite pot too!)

Noelle said...

Um, I could use some of this. Great picture!

Deer Prudence said...

mmmm yummy!

kmudrick said...

I see that you link to annatto seeds from amazon - is there any place in Philly where you can find them? (I've never seen them at Whole Foods.)

Kiersten said...

Simple or not, there's nothing like a good rice and beans recipe!

Catherine said...

Any chance you could share the recipe? I'm always looking for new ways to dress up a standby!

urban vegan said...

kmudrick: i got mine at SuperFresh on Delaware Ave. They have a decent Spanish foods section. Any Spanish grocery or larger grocery stores should have them. I also got the green olives there.

buffalodick said...

I know it is a popular dish, but I have never had it! Looks good!

Kimberly said...

Is there a chance you might share the recipe? It looks delicious!

kmudrick said...

Score, found annatto seeds at Shop Rite in Cherry hill. Only $.99 for a package of them.

urban vegan said...

Recipe as Lisa gave it to me: color lots of oil (4T?) with lots of annatto seeds (4 T?). Remove seeds. Throw in onion, garlic, bunch of chopped cilantro, 2 cups white rice, 1 can beans (reserve liquid), some red pepper, green olives to taste, a packet of Goya Sazon if you have it and 1 cup water including reserved bean liquid.

Stir, stir, stir over medium, as Lisa said. I had to add more water now and then.....Cook until rice is al dente and glistens

I want to make this again right now. Tell me how it turns out.

Levinson Axelrod said...

Looks excellent and tasty. Thanks for the sharing the recipe.

Virginie Péan said...

Le Creuset ! You are right, it is a very good quality and the orange pot has got a nice and tonic color. I've been invested in Skeppshult pans now: they are organic and made for life (at least!). The only negative point is that they are heavy, but as everybody knows, vegans are strong, so it is not so much a problem ;)
Nice Puerto Rican dish. I don't know enough about this Cuisine. I hope I can taste one day these Annatto seeds.

urban vegan said...

Virginie: Email me your address and I'll send you some!

Anonymous said...

Looks lovely! Do the annatto seeds go back into the dish at any point or are they used to infuse the oil and then removed permanently. thanks, Lena

Ana said...

So cool to see a recipe using annatto!
My grandma had an annatto tree on her backyard in Brazil, we used to pop open the shells, remove the tiny round seeds and then grind them on a mortar and pestle. My grandma would then use the annatto powder to flavor and color sauces and rice dishes.
Seeing your dish reminded me a lot of doing this with her and then loving the stews she made with the annatto we had just ground!
Maybe if you grind yours you can get even more flavors out of it!
Ana

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Ope said...

Everything Puerto Rican go to North Philly!! 5th and Norris or you can buy it on American and Lehigh ave.. I know I'm Puerto Rican and Live there.